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Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason Hardcover – August 4, 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

U.S. Congresswoman DeGette, of Colorado, doesn't mince words regarding religious conservatives in congress who have been pushing, since Reagan, for abstinence-only sex education, a ban on stem cell research, and other ways of "undermining scientific progress in the name of God." Calling this "political malpractice" of a "malignant, self-serving, and unconscionable" sort, DeGette's riveting insider's account reveals how conservatives have controlled the agenda on woman's issues, especially after the 2000 election. Though her opponents are largely Republicans, DeGette works with moderates and conservatives across the aisle while facing opposition from anti-choice Democrats, as in a crucial vote to prevent a ban on stem cell research. DeGette also writes movingly about her daughter's diabetes, which made stem cell research a personal cause; sadly but predictably, her triumphant legislation, crafted across party lines and with the support of Nancy Reagan, is dashed by a Bush veto. DeGette's report from the D.C. front lines is often infuriating, but her exposure and takedown of conservatives' more outrageous arguments (against, for instance, insurance coverage of government workers' birth control) provide reason to hope for a backlash.
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Review

"Congresswoman DeGette provides an explosive, first-hand account of how the right-wing has manipulated public policy on issues ranging from choice, reproduction, and stem cell research for pure political gain. Her compilation of experiences from inside the halls of Congress reveal how sound-science and scientific evidence have been ignored for far too long. Everyone should read Congresswoman DeGette's book and learn from it."

 

--Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives 

 

 

"Congresswoman Diana DeGette's Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason is a clarion call to restore sanity to the public process of protecting the sexual and reproductive health of all Americans.  DeGette writes eloquently against the senseless and hazardous anti-woman agenda of the Bush administration and exposes the political mythologies that jeopardize the health of the American family — from dangerous abstinence-only programs to bans on vital stem cell research.  She is a voice of reason in this ongoing debate."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
 

 

“This probing philosophical work exposes the politicization of science by the right wing in the U.S. Congress and the heavy influence of the religious right....An important book on an important topic.”

 

--Daily Camera



"Congresswoman DeGette provides an explosive, first-hand account of how the right-wing has manipulated public policy on issues ranging from choice, reproduction, and stem cell research for pure political gain. Her compilation of experiences from inside the halls of Congress reveal how sound-science and scientific evidence have been ignored for far too long. Everyone should read Congresswoman DeGette's book and learn from it."

 

--Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives 

 

 

"Congresswoman Diana DeGette's Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason is a clarion call to restore sanity to the public process of protecting the sexual and reproductive health of all Americans.  DeGette writes eloquently against the senseless and hazardous anti-woman agenda of the Bush administration and exposes the political mythologies that jeopardize the health of the American family — from dangerous abstinence-only programs to bans on vital stem cell research.  She is a voice of reason in this ongoing debate."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
 

 

“This probing philosophical work exposes the politicization of science by the right wing in the U.S. Congress and the heavy influence of the religious right....An important book on an important topic.”

 

--Daily Camera

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (August 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599214318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599214313
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,343,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kristine Lofgren VINE VOICE on March 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Congresswoman Diana DeGette has written an interesting, lively book on the fight between the right wing and the left on issues such as stem cell research, abstinence-only programs and the availability of Plan B to women in the military. Make no mistake, her book is not a balanced view of the facts, it is a passionately written expose told exclusively from her point of view in the fight, but what a point of view it is.

From the view of an insider, this book is full of fascinating stories of just how things get done in congress and at times it is amusing, others frustrating. It reads much like a biography, starting with Ms. Degette's turn in the Colorado legislature and follows her up to early 2008, detailing her struggles and views along the way.

Whether you agree or not with her opinions (particularly on cloning), this books is a great look at the inside world of congress, including a different side of the "snowflake babies veto" (I always did wonder what that was about), and answers questions about why the Bush administration continued to uphold the stem cell research ban despite public support to the contrary. Some would argue that Ms. Degette has written a book to champion her own efforts in congress, and I would say: of course she has. She has been pushing her causes for years and of course her book is going to support her opinion on the cause. However, if you take the time to check out the details of her book, despite not including sources (which is why I didn't give this book 5 stars), you can easily verify the scientific facts that she cites and the congressional records that she sources.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. It probably won't convince you otherwise if you strongly feel that her opinion is wrong, but it will give anyone a view into the workings of our government that will stay in your mind long after you have put the book down.
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Format: Hardcover
Denver Congresswoman Diana DeGette says teen-age pregnancies are up this year for the first time in many years. Sex-education programs that stress abstinence correlate with a high pregnancy rate - significantly higher than comprehensive programs that teach sexual physiology, birth control, and how to prevent disease. Unfortunately, the sexual repression ethic sometimes overwhelms common sense in our school boards. This brings us to the Congressional attitude about sex - any open discussion about it sends them into hiding.

Fortunately, with a popular issue such as stem cell research, Congress is braver. Led by Representation DeGette, Congress overwhelmingly passed stem cell research bills two years in a row, only to have them vetoed by the president. The anti-science bias of the Bush administration has struck frequently. To be generous, he probably is not specifically anti-science, but his religious and business agendas so consistently clash with mainstream scientific findings, he looks anti-science.

His administration opposes financing birth control, including condoms, but pays for Viagra. Bush appointed two people to direct the Office Family Planning who oppose birth control (can you imagine that?). Other Bush appointees killed easy access to the morning-after pill and the human papilloma virus vaccine - the prevention for cervical cancer. He approved $15 billion for the fight against HIV worldwide, but the vast majority of the money goes to Christian organizations that preach abstinence and will not distribute condoms. Go figure.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for a Republican politician to be moderate about this (or any other) party issue. If they oppose the fundamentalist part of the party, they run the risk of being seen as disloyal.
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Format: Hardcover
The book has a good development of the current status
of stem cell research, the problems and opportunities
available as we move forward. In December, 1994,
an Executive Order set boundaries on creating human
embryos. According to Harriet Rabb-General Counsel,
stem cells aren't within the statutory exclusionary
definition of an embroyo.

Scientists can create plurpotent cells which are
scientifically engineered stem cells for diabetes patients.
President George Bush discussed new treatments with
moral boundaries aimed at keeping the research on
ethical and moral high ground. The idea of cloning
raises red flags .

This is an excellent volume for readers interested
in stem cell issues and current research.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. I found this work by Diana DeGette to be an excellent, clearly written easy to read view of specific aspects of the workings of Congress and the Senate. In particular Diana DeGette provides the reader with a solid insight to the realities and challenges associated with passing legislation and driving intelligent discussion using facts and logic within government circles. In so doing she exposes the extent to which these processes are hampered by opinion driven and uninformed personal world views. Also she demonstrates through easy to follow examples, the extent to which extremist special interest groups hamper changes which the average rational person will see as purely benevolent.

No doubt her specific subject matter will be controversial particularly in the U.S. as she focuses on sex and reproductive issues. Her approach however, is reason and fact based and oriented to achieving changes for the greater good. To be honest I was horrified to learn the extent to which America and indirectly the rest of the world is manipulated by a relative small number of people and organizations who have at the top of their priorities imposing their personal values on the rest of us and here's the thing, they do this regardless of what the facts show and the extent to which their views negatively impact the lives of literally millions of people.

Diana DeGette's approach is to narrate a personal journey describing the surprising impact her professional accomplishments have made on her personal life, how she has dealt with them and with some of "life's curve balls" specifically when her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and the impact that made to her motivations.

If you consider yourself a rational person, i.e.
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